Front Suspension Problems and Solutions; Get Rid of the Shimmy!
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Thread: Front Suspension Problems and Solutions; Get Rid of the Shimmy!

  1. #1
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Work started on Front end 4/27/02

    Work seems to be slow on the car with the fishing season
    in but I did manage to get some work done this weekend
    Check it out in the Old Photo Gallery, Stanley's GT restoration.

    Thanks,
    Stanley

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    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    LightbulbI need help with Painting.....

    I'm going to be rebuilding the rear and front end of my car
    and I want to clean and paint each part. Does anyone have
    any Pros and Cons with doing this?

    Step to take?
    Paint to use?
    Leave it alone?

    Thanks, Stanley

  4. #3
    Dan
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    I'd clean everything with old gas, cleaning solvent or carburator cleaner. Then wash it with very mild detergent and dry thuroughly. Finally scuff sand the parts when necessary, and wipe it down with a clean towel and a paint thinner that is quick evaporating and compatible with your paint. Allow it to dry, prime and then paint it with light coats to keep it from running.
    This is the best way to make a good lasting coat that I've found. It is a long process and will probably take a day to do after you disassemble and the night to dry before reassembly. I go as far as to make holes in cardboard and boxes and paint bolt heads and nuts.

    You will be happy with the results, but if it is visible with the rest of the dirty parts it looks a bit odd. Definately worth it in my opinion.

    Dan

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    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Front end work under way - need help.

    I got the front end out of the car today, broke out the old
    repair manual and realized that maybe I'd better get some
    advice from the opel community. My goal was to break down
    the entire front end, clean, paint and replace what was needed.
    But now I'm wondering if it is worth dealing with the spring in
    the front end. I dont have a spring compressor that the book refers to. Does anyone know if this spring is going to cause me
    any problems? What could I use for a spring compressor? I believe I can get the front end torn apart but what about putting it back together? Should I just leave everything alone if ball joist
    and bushings are O.K.?

    Thanks,
    Stanley_P

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    Site Founder Gary's Avatar
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    Do not try to disconnect the front spring with the front end out of the car without the spring compressor. The spring is under a lot of tension!! If the front end was still in place, you could disconnect one end using a floor jack.

    If the ball joints and bushings are ok, I'd just clean and paint it.

  8. #6
    Project 1450 supporter... Site Supporter RallyBob's Avatar
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    I think Gary was just trying to scare you a little (good job BTW Gary!). You DO have to treat the front spring with respect, especially when the front end is out of the car, and a spring compressor is necessary if you are attempting to remove the spring that way. However, if the front end is IN the car, the spring is quite easily removed with nothing more than a jack, a pair of jackstands, and the appropriate hand-tools. The vehicle's weight does all the work for you.

    Bob

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    Have Opel, Will Travel oldopelguy's Avatar
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    lots of spring pressure

    Not to recommend anything dangerous, and fully in support of you finding the spring compresser, I have used one option a couple of times before:

    If you have access to a hydraulic press (maybe you can talk your machinist into it?) you can use it with a couple of pieces of VERY heavy bar or tubing (at least 2"x2"x1/4"thick tubing) cut to the right lengths to compress the springs. I set mine up in the press with a bar long enough to go almost ball joint to ball joint on the bottom and a piece that goes from the 2 body mounting perches on the suspension on top. I added a couple of spacers under the "loops" on the ends of the spring and used the press to compress the spring. Once the lower arms came off their perches I unbolted the ends of the spring and let the tension off of the press very slowly.

    Once the spring was no longer unter compression The rest of the disassembly was rather straight-forward.

    I was planning on putting a set of the shackles I read about in an old article (by Bob, I think) in at the time, but I was in a bit of a time crunch at the time 'cause the chroming took longer than expected. (By the way, chroming the cross-member looks cool, but the a-arms like to chip and peel their chrome, don't wast the $.) If you do get the suspension that far apart, maybe you ought to consider something like that yourself, along with possibly adjusting either the # or length of the center spring to make the car more suited to your driving style.

    Maybe if we all pester Bob enough he'll let some more secrets out of his bag about springs and whether or not the shackles panned out that well.......

  10. #8
    Project 1450 supporter... Site Supporter RallyBob's Avatar
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    No secrets about springs really. We all know the transverse leaf sucks.....

    Okay, seriously now, there have been a few ways to modify the transverse springs. There's the lowering block method (placed above the spring, bolted to the crossmember), but this method binds the spring more than stock. There's the aftermarket 2-leaf steel spring alternative....they ride a bit rough but there's a lot less of an arch, so they actually don't bind as much as a stock spring. There's my old fiberglass leaf spring I developed for racing years ago, which doesn't bind and only weighs 6.5 lbs, but costs a few bucks $$$. There's another method I did for my Kadett, which required a lot of labor to cut the eyelets OFF the spring, and fabricate a center-locating device for the spring, and also fabricated plates for the underside of the a-arms with HDPE friction blocks for a smoother ride and no binding. And of course the 'infamous' shackle system, which I first tried about 10 years ago. It works, and it's cheap. Wayne Torman's GT has these installed.

    A noteworthy item worth mentioning is that chrome plating suspension parts can be very dangerous on cars that are regularly street driven (not an issue for show cars really). I have numerous friends in the plating industry, and they all warn me never to chrome plate suspension parts, as the process of chrome plating introduces 'hydrogen embrittlement' to the base metal, which GREATLY intensifies the possibility of the part cracking and failing. In fact the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) strictly forbids chrome-plated structural components...only nickel plating is allowed (nickel is more yellow in color than chrome's silver/blue color). Just a warning.....

    I suspect your a-arms are peeling chrome because of the flexing going on there. Remember how easy I said they bent?

    Bob


    Spring shackle installed on a GT.....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    targaflorio likes this.

  11. #9
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm going to put the front
    end back under the car and try taking off one side at a time.
    I let you know how it goes.

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    Site Founder Gary's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RallyBob
    I think Gary was just trying to scare you a little (good job BTW Gary!).
    Bob
    That's 'cuz I support my Opel Habit by playing Health and Safety Manager and every once in a while that training slips out.

  13. #11
    Have Opel, Will Travel oldopelguy's Avatar
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    Chrome

    The chrome suspension is long since gone, a leftover from my high school days when a friend worked in a chrome shop.

    I never really was all that happy with it, and I really wouldn't recommend it either. I wish I had spent the $ on powder coating the parts that don't flex much, like the cross member, and a good paint job for the rest. The next Kadett I sink $20,000 into will be liberally powdercoated and Jet Hot-ed, along with the standard polishing of everything aluminum or magnesium.

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    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    TalkingFront and Rear End, Cleaned, Primed, Painted

    Check out the front and rear end piece in the
    Stanley's 69 Restoration Gallery. I just upload
    a couple photo's.

    Thanks,
    Stanley

  15. #13
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Front end spring compressed!!!!

    Check out the picture of my front end upside down on saw horses with a piece of 4x4x1/4 tube steel with a threaded rod down the center in Stanley's 69 Restoration Gallery. I took my 2 arm pulley remover and hooked into the plate at the bottom of the spring and bolted the arms together. For safety I took a set of vice grips and held the two arms together.
    I already had one side of the lower control arm attached. So with everything in place I started cranking down on the rod. I took another threaded rod with 2 nut and placed it into the one of the holes where the spring attaching bolt should go, this was also my safety in cause something failed. I would crank down 10 or 12 turn on the center rod and then tighten up the other threaded rod. It worked perfectly.

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    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Front end and Rear end Work is Done

    Frontend and rearend work is done and looks great. Ordered Rims and Tires today will be here toward end of week. Electrical and interior here I come.....I'll post photos of the front and rear end with new tires with they arrive.

    Thanks,
    Stanley

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    ArrowFront Leaf Replacement

    Bob,
    I have an almost NOS stock spring that I am replaceing in my '70 GT. Care on elaborating on the removal method you mentioned?? The front end is still on the car and I would like to keep it that way. Thanks for the help.

    Bill

    Originally posted by RallyBob
    I think Gary was just trying to scare you a little (good job BTW Gary!). You DO have to treat the front spring with respect, especially when the front end is out of the car, and a spring compressor is necessary if you are attempting to remove the spring that way. However, if the front end is IN the car, the spring is quite easily removed with nothing more than a jack, a pair of jackstands, and the appropriate hand-tools. The vehicle's weight does all the work for you.

    Bob

  18. #16
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    If you go to my photo gallery (Stanley's 69 restoration) I have a photo of what I used to compress the spring with it out of the car.
    A piece of 4x4 tube steel, picked up at a local fabicator shop in his scrap pile (free of charge) a 3/4"threaded rod, 2 pieces of wood. it work really well......I removed the spring by lowering the weight of the car onto it and it came out nice.......but I could not get it back in that way. The tube and threaded rod was nothing I came up with Someone on this site (Oldopelguy) told me about this setup.

    Thanks,
    Stanley

  19. #17
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Also, beware of the (4) bolts that hold the spring on...I had one of 1 out of the 4 would not come out. I had to drill forever to get it out.....use plenty on liquid wrench.......

    Stanley

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    Member Site Supporter N61WP's Avatar
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    Stanley,

    I also had a terrible time getting the old bolts out when I redid my front end. I wound up having to cut the eyelet bolts off, they were so frozen. I would suggest that you look into a replacement lowered spring, as it goes back in with out being under tension when you install it. Much easier! I got mine from Todd but I think that OGTS has them also. I used the mild one that only had a 1" drop as I didn't want to through off the rear geometry. I never drove the car with the original spring, so I can't say how much worst it rides now.
    James

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    Dan
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    Tips on replacing lower control arm bushings

    subject says it all, I got all the rears done and the upper control arms, but the lowers are giving me trouble. I'm trying to get the outer metal sleeves out so I can get the part that bolts to the xmember out.

    TIA

    Dan

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    ??????

    Are you saying that you can't get the lower control arm out of the car so that the bushings can be replaced?

    OR

    ... That you have the control arm out of the car, but cant get the bushing out of the lower control arm?

    Not sure how to help you....

    Paul

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